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Symbol Font Test Page

Several sections of the TSMB course contain Greek letters and other mathematical symbols.

To check that your computer and browser are set up for this, look at the following table:

Written as α
Written as β

If you see a ? instead of the Greek alpha and beta, you do not have your browser set up to use HTML 4.0 and display the extended character sets.

If this is the case, it is most likely that you simply need to upgrade your browser. You need at least version 4 of Netscape or Internet Explorer, which are, themselves, now obsolete versions. You may obtain up-to-date versions of browsers from the following sites:

If you have an up-to-date browser and still cannot see the Greek symbols, try setting the character set to utf-8 (see under view menu in Netcape or under view, encoding in Explorer). If you still have problems try playing with the fonts under preferences

Methods of Displaying Greek and symbols in HTML

In early browsers and HTML, the only characters that could be used were standard western alphabet and any non standard characters had to be encoded as images (gifs). This was clearly not good as these could not be resized for people who need large text etc. In HTML 3.0 <Font Face="symbol">a </Font> would give an alpha. This depended on the machine reading the document having the same Font installed. This will still work on most browsers, but in HTML 4, use of < Font > was deprecated (ie its use is discouraged at all). Characters can be defined using &#number; or &abbrev;. However it depends on the browser how well this is implemented. For example in Netscape 4.7 &alpha (α) does not work but &#945;(α) does.

There is one further complication. You need to have in your document header

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

There are various pages on the web saying that this is misunderstood and technically incorrect

However it works round a bug in netscape 4.x and works for Explorer 4 and Netscape 6 and 7, so that is what we are using.

http://www.alanwood.net/demos/ent4_frame.html gives a list of characters and will allow you to test your browser and to get the numeric code as well as the abbreviation. We tend to use the numeric code on this course as it appears to be more reliable in older browsers.

Nicholas Keep

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